What a great year it has been for the community garden! We hope that you all had as much fun meeting new friends, getting exercise with the pump, and eating and sharing your vegetables, herbs and flowers as we did. Fortunately the season is not yet over, and a frost is not yet in the forecast. Just in case, you may want to harvest your tender basil before that time comes. Some vegetables will continue to grow past a frost like lettuce, spinach, kale brussel sprouts and broccoli, some of which are supposed to be even sweeter after a frost.
But now that the leaves are starting to turn and some plants are starting to wither, it is time to start thinking about closing the garden for the season and cleaning your plot so that next year can be even better! We found this short article below on University of Nebraska - Lincoln web-site. It is a good summary of what you need to do with your plot before winter.
You are welcome to bring leaves from home to add directly to your plot, but don't add too many oak leaves or any pine needles as they are very acidic. You may also want to add any pesticide-free grass clippings from home to your plot. It looks like the compost bin on the right is filling up, so continue to use the bin on the right until it is full. If anyone has time to turn the compost bin, feel free to do it at any time.
If you have any questions or comments, or need help with your fall clean-up, please let us know.
Thanks, Lynn and Ada
FALL VEGETABLE GARDEN CLEAN-UP
Before putting all your gardening tools away for the year, take an afternoon this fall and clean up the vegetable garden. Removing garden debris, including dead plant material and rotted vegetables, will help to reduce disease and insect problems next year. The time spent now cleaning up the garden, will be well worth it next summer.
Dear Gardeners, June 21, 2010
It is the longest day of the year tomorrow. Plants everywhere are growing rapidly and profusely. So are the striped cucumber beetles. Alas, these small creatures are not only on cucumber plants, but also on squash and even on radishes and lettuce, I discovered. So far, the few sprays that have been tried, like the neem spray, red pepper/garlic oil/soap and some other organic ones, have not really eliminated them. Hand picking does work; that is, if you can catch them. Early in the morning they are somewhat sluggish.
The following information and pictures were taken from “ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service”. Please, read carefully! And also be on the lookout for squash beetles, etc.
“The striped cucumber beetle is about 1/5 inch long and yellowish-green with a black head and yellow thorax. It has three parallel and longitudinal black stripes along the length of its wing covers.
The striped cucumber beetle is about 1/5 inch long and yellowish-green with a black head and yellow thorax. It has three parallel and longitudinal black stripes along the length of its wing covers.
Organic control measures include delayed planting, floating row covers, trap crops and using predatory organisms and botanical or biorational insecticides.
We do get some nice help with our insect control, though. On quiet days, the garden is continuously visited by robins, catbirds and Baltimore orioles. They fly in and out, under the top wire, over the deer netting, beaks full of something to feed their young. The garden provides a smorgasbord to them. They are helped by large and small toads, who, with some effort, squeeze themselves through the chicken wire. The toads will stay in the garden, provided there are moist, dark spaces to hide in from the drying heat of the sun.
The Children’s plot has found a faithful and enthusiastic caretaker. Chris, who will enter 7th grade at Sawyer in the fall, is an expert at making cucumber pickles. He and Joel Bates, the (new) head of the school, planted tomato and pumpkin seedlings a few days ago. We have some cucumber seedlings for him, but he most likely can use more. Seedlings can be left in the shade near the compost bins.
As you might have noticed, a few of us have started to use the senior plot as overflow area for seedlings, with the idea that the produce raised this way can be given to food banks. Please, feel free to do the same, as long as you take care of those plants and help weed the plot. Of course, we might be out of luck if the Eagle Scout candidate really starts building the raised beds for the seniors. J
The question of what to do when your neighbor’s plants start extending their vines onto your area has come up. Hopefully, this neighbor will provide a trellis or so for the vines to climb on (without shading your plants). You could also just move the vines back to the lot they came from. It would be best to discuss the subject with the plot’s owner. Maybe the agreement would be that whatever grows on your land, you can harvest. You might also enjoy the coverage: less weeding to do.
Thank you, Dave, for fixing the back gate. No rabbit will be able to get through there anymore.
The front entrance still needs some fixing. Any volunteers? One of the gates was pushed out of alignment by the tractor and will need to be bent back, somehow, before the two line up again. The rabbits have easy access to the garden without the rock and board barricade placed there. Currently the side gate provides the easiest entrance to the garden.
As part of the “community” deal, each of us is responsible for keeping all weeds out of adjacent paths. This is not going to be easy for members who are not that young anymore; the root systems of some of the weeds are tenacious and need strength to be removed. Please, help each other. As you might have /will notice, one of the town’s weed wackers voluntarily cut the plants along the paths. However, the hair-cutted weeds still need to be pulled out or dug up before they grow a new crop of leaves.
Please, park only on the narrow dirt road, not next to it on what is now being mowed. None of this land, the area between the big parking lot and the town’s sport’s field, belongs to the town. BCG only has special permission from the owners to use the dirt road; nothing else. We don’t want to risk this favor by going outside the boundaries of the path.
My pet peeve: rocks are still dumped in front of the rock pile, instead of behind the sticks and on top of the pile. That passageway really needs to be kept open. And I really don’t enjoy picking up all those rocks and moving them.
Hopefully we’ll form a nice contingent to the Fourth of July Parade! Any brilliant ideas for what we could do?
Keep watering those tender little plants! The pump has certainly been useful!!!
Dear Gardeners, Thursday, May 6, 2010
Here are a few important points:
1) Our wonderful Reggie Burgess dropped by the garden yesterday, offering to till the soil with his tractor + tilling attachment. As several of you will remember from last year, his set-up is superior to a regular roto-tiller. Even though a good number of the plots have been tilled by Rich, Lynn and John, we strongly suggest that you let Reggie go over your area again. The rye has grown well and is tough to cut down. Reggie’s machine will do a better job on that than the small tiller. Unless you let Ada know (978 618-7703 or email) that you want your plot left alone, it will be turned over. This most likely will happen early next week. Exceptions: Mr. Yin’s plot and part of Yueming’s.
2) The lime has arrived and has been dumped near the side entrance. This needs to be spread out before Monday. Plots that have received some lime already will get proportionally less.
3) This Saturday, May 8, we’ll have a work party, starting at 9:00. Ada will be there at 9:00, with Rona, Lynn and, hopefully Teresa (she is still in Maine or on the way back) coming when they can. Lynn and Ada will have to leave at 11:00 to go to the Energy/Sustainability Fair in Maynard. Please, come; there is much work to do, too much for the Minute Man students who we trust will be there on Friday.
Bring gloves, water, a coffee can or small bucket (or something else) to spread the lime, plus something to pulverize the lumps of lime with.
4) Because of the tilling, do not yet plant anything. (Shucks, I was going to put my peas in.) I think we are all impatient for the soil to be ready for the cultivation of early crops. Some year …, but we might want to brainstorm how we can speed-up the process of getting more humus into the soil, if that is possible. As soon as Reg has done his work, we can start. You’ll get an email announcement.
5) The handle pump is in and working! A big thank-you to Mike Sullivan and his assistant. Mike had to wait for the permit from the health department before he could start. His big rig drilled 15 feet down and then the pipe was put in place. This means we’ll have a good flow of water even during dry spells. The pump does not need priming. The water is for plants only. The water is NOT for drinking!
Work plan for Saturday:
a. Spread lime.
b. Take gravel/rocks out of your plot and put around the pump to prevent a mud puddle.
c. Help Rona, John and Lynn with the last work on the deer fence. There is more repair work to be done and the part in the front will need to have the netting replaced with the stronger material.
d. Replenishing the paths with wood chips.
e. Weeding the paths.
f. Checking to make sure there are no stakes, wires, strings, paper bags, etc. that can get stuck in the tiller.
f. Turning over and consolidating the compost bins. Please, do not add more material to these two bins until this work has been done. One of them will be empty and fresh greens should go into that one.
Hope to see you all on Saturday, Rona, Ada, Teresa
Some great news: (April 2010)
Organically grown seedlings will be available for purchase at the Great Oak Farm, Highland Street, in Berlin. Great Oak Farm is a NOFA certified organic farm. Carla has been planting seeds in their greenhouse for their own use and for us. (Steen right now is checking up on his fields; some had flooded a bit.
So far, Carla has seeded:
Several varieties of Lettuce
Various varieties of Tomatoes
sunflowers and herbs in pots will also be available.
Carla and Steen have never before offered seedlings for sale. They will this year at our request. Organic seedlings are not easy to find, so we are very fortunate. If you, like me, do not have a place to start your own, this is the opportunity to get high-quality ones. The tomato blight taught us last year not to buy plants at grocery stores, box stores, hardware stores and the like, no matter what kind.
We’re planning to bring flats of Great Oak Farms seedlings to the Community Garden on certain days, so it would help if you could let me know the kinds and quantities you are interested in. Prices are not yet set, but will be comparable to high-quality ones available elsewhere. Note that lettuce seedlings are already available! Either let Ada know or contact the farm directly in at 978-838-2097.
Many of us have been wondering which ones and when to sow seeds inside to give them a head-start and when to start putting seeds in outside. Teresa has found a wonderful website, one that can be customized to fit our area. http://bioarray.us/Skippy's%20planting%20calendar.html.
As far as peas are concerned, remember to old saying: When the new leaflets on the oak trees are the size of a mouse’s ear, it’s time to sow your peas. And that is NOW. If you have a garden at your house, you are lucky. If you, like most of us, need to wait for the community garden, we have to show patience.
As you might remember from last year, some more lime will need to be added to the soil. We’re also looking into obtaining more organic compost as enrichment. Amazingly enough, the winter rye and the hairy vetch are growing, despite the late sowing date and all the standing water recently. Even though they were evenly broadcast, their germination was spotty. To make sure the result next year will be better, we already bought some cover crop seeds which can be put in at any time and will also compete with weeds.
The Community Garden will have a hand pump! This does not sound very exciting during all this flooding, but, come the dry days, we will thank Mike Sullivan, Well Drilling, for their reduced price and for the Agriculture Commission for their contribution. The remaining costs will be defrayed by BCG. Mike Sullivan will start with the installation as soon as the ground has sufficiently dried out for his heavy machine.
Once the pump has been installed and the lime and compost delivered, the Garden soil can be turned over. This year, we will have the Horticulture/Landscape Technology class at Minuteman High School helping out. Their instructor, Sarah White, feels a hands-on field trip would be a great addition to their schedule. Having so many hands will make the lime, topsoil and compost spreading and rototilling so much easier.
Chris Cole of Bolton has been busy designing the raised beds for the Senior Plot as his Eagle Scout Project. There will be beds of different heights so that no bending is required, and a bed that is wheelchair accessible.
The Bolton Garden Club is holding its Garden Tour on Saturday, June 19, and has asked us to participate. It is just wonderful to think that last year at this time we had nothing, and this year, the Garden’s second, we’re asked to be part of the show. A hum, all this rain better stop so that we can get ready!
There are plans for another series of presentations/workshops, starting in May (hopefully). Currently, the topics under consideration are:
If you are interested in other topics, don’t hesitate to let us know.
Lectures about gardening are also being offered by The Bird House Garden Center in Boxborough (www.birdhousegardencenter.com). The Birdhouse, like Applefield Farm in Stow, has organically grown local seedlings for sale as well.
A message from Lynda King, President, Bolton Local:
As you get ready for the upcoming garden season, please keep in mind this opportunity to help our neighbors:
WHEAT Community Services in Clinton runs a community kitchen, where they serve food 6 nights a week, and they also operate a food pantry in Clinton. I spoke with the volunteer coordinator today and she said they would welcome any and all donations of fresh produce when it’s available.
To donate to the community kitchen, bring produce to the Community Café at 242 High St. in Clinton after 3:30 p.m. To donate to the food pantry, bring produce to 500 Main St., 2nd floor, in Clinton. That office is open Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To call for more information or to make arrangements for drop-offs outside of these hours, call the WHEAT office at 978-365-6349.
"Think globally, act locally!"
We will be working on the installation of a more permanent deer fence in two weeks, on Monday, May 3, from 2:00 – 4:00, weather permitting. Help is always welcome. If you can come, please contact Teresa at 978 634-1723.
And if you want to remove rocks from the garden, many came up this winter. J
Ada, Rona, Teresa
Organic Cotton T-Shirts - $16
(All proceeds go to helping the garden grow!)
Many people have generously
helped us make the garden a reality.
See our Thank you page.
Please see our wish list and hopefully you can help out too!
The Community Garden
Application Form and Pamphlet
are attached below.
The Garden Committee: Rona, Teresa, and Ada
To volunteer, make donations or inquire about organic gardening, contact Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-634-1723.
For questions regarding membership, plot number, fees, guidelines or other related questions, contact Ada at email@example.com or 978-618-7703.
For all other questions, call Rona at 978-779-2259.
To view the history of Bolton's first Community Garden check out our History page.